How to Delight Your Reader – In 6 Easy Steps
What is content? I call it a “Written 5 Course Meal”. Writing quality content keeps people hanging out on your blog or website long enough for them to digest and love what you’ve written; and you hope they are picking up (information) what your putting down (and understanding it). I consider content like I consider snacks; I want to taste lots of yumminess and I want to come back for more. You want your visitors to do the same.
I use food as an example not because I’m hungry (I am a little hungry), but because the example of snacking is perfect!
Course 1: Keep it Short and Sweet
You want small bites of information – small but meaningful paragraphs. Large blocks of content is boring. Well…it is! Keep your paragraphs to about 4 lines of text, maybe 6. You want to break up the information and you want it to be visually pleasing. Now, this is not a fast and hard rule, merely a suggestion. I’m just saying, there is nothing worse than reading a long-ass page of content with nothing to break it up; no one wants to read a text book unless that’s what they are reading. Make sense? There. I said it all in 6 lines. 🙂
Course 2: Use Headlines – Think of a Restaurant Menu
How do you think restaurants, newspapers or rumor magazines do it? How do retailers draw you in for yet another “BIG SALE”? They get your attention…like BOOM, with an engaging headline! A great headline draws your attention on what’s to come; it’s a tell all guide on what to expect. Headlines not only tell you what’s coming, it makes you want to know more.
When I was in college I majored in Communications and Marketing. Do you know what I remember? Our professor constantly gave back our assignments and told us to work on our headlines…he said we were “boring him to death”. I guess our first instinct was to dive head first into the content and forget about the marquee. He wanted to see lights and action in our titles and headings. “If your headline sucks why should they continue reading”, he said? Did he realize how hard that was? Gee Whiz.
Tag their interest with a headline or subject line. Let them know what type of “treat” is coming. Don’t have them digging through your content to find out what they are about to learn. You want to connect the subject header directly to the subject matter – you want to help them make sense of the information, as soon as possible.
Which menu item would you rather see?
- Good Burgers, or
- Delicious Burgers – Because you Build It!, or
- Be a Burger Architect – What’s Your Blue Print?
Course 3: Use Visuals
While you’re working on breaking up those long paragraphs…throw in some graphics. Make sure they tie into your subject matter. Have fun with it. Our eyes get hungry too, and they want to look at delicious eye-candy amongst all of the meat of potatoes of your content.
Like this PIE CHART. Yum!
Use photos, drawings, videos, charts and graphs…you get the picture. (Yes. Pun intended). We all still have a little kid in us. We loved picture books when we were kids and we still love pictures. Shhh…I won’t tell if you don’t want me too.
Course 4: Color & Texture
Tell me color isn’t important when you look at tantalizing desserts. Take a look these strawberries so saturated with the vibrancy of color that you can almost taste the red of the strawberries. And look at the texture. Color and texture together captivates more than one of your senses.
The color. Use different color fonts, but not too many. Just don’t go hog-wild…you don’t want to clutter up your content. Have fun with different font sizes and colors, like I’ve done in this article. Once again, don’t clutter. Use well placed headings with and H2 (Header 2) size should be sufficient. But like with any meal, don’t over do it.
- Use bullet points…Bullet points draw attention to your information
- Bold some key words in your content to drive home meaning
- Don’t forget to use italics where appropriate, and
- “Quotation Marks” around written speech
Course 5: The K.I.S.S. Rule
I’m not talking about kissing the cook, although you could if you wanted too! But K.I.S.S. = Keep It Super Simple.
Don’t write over your reader’s head. No one is impressed with your big words and you don’t want them traipsing off to Thesaurus.com to figure out what the heck you’re talking about. And…you don’t want your reader rolling their eyes at your presumed superiority. Just keep it real. Keep it conversational, and keep it simple.
Here’s what to do: Pretend you’re talking to a friend, you’re telling a story and they’re hanging on to your every word. That’s what you want.
Course 6: Wrap it Up
It’s the conclusion of your meal. It’s time to sit back, look at those empty plates and ponder on how it tasted. It’s time for a glass of wine and a synopsis of the wonderful food you’ve just received. And while you’re at it, go ahead a loosen your belt a bit.
It’s time to wrap it up. The conclusion is a short discussion about why your “meal” (your content) was valuable. This is not the time to add new information. This is the time to add closure and value.
So, what does closure do for your reader?
- It stresses the importance of your topic,
- If gives your content a sense of fullness, or completeness, and
- It’s the opportunity to leave a final impression on the reader. Will they want to come back for more?
I also use the conclusion as a way to see if I left anything out. It helps me make sure I’ve covered all the important points and topics I wanted to share.
Your content has now come full circle.
Are You Full Yet?
I hope you enjoyed my 6 Course Meal outlining the importance of writing content. It’s simple really – content should delight your reader. Don’t over think it! It doesn’t matter if you have a personal blog, a monetized website, or a business website or newsletter; these 6 steps (and practice) are all you need to help you craft spectacular content. Just remember, people want to read engaging content that’s meaningful and that keeps their attention. Your visitors want to read what you written, all you have to do is “deliver”.
I hope you found this article meaningful and I hope you were able to find a little snack that was just perfect for you, and just what you needed.
If you love to write, please share your successes, tips and ideas with us! Do you struggle? Ask for help, here. I invite you all to interact and sit at my table.
Now. I’m off to get me some dinner. Aren’t you starving??
Until next time…